Everything feels like it’s moving in fast-forward after a car accident, and you may find yourself fielding calls you don’t want from the other side’s lawyers or insurance company. It’s vitally important that you say nothing to anyone that could jeopardize a claim you need to make or put you on the hook for something you didn’t do; unfortunately, the other side’s lawyers may be hoping to trip you so you’ll do exactly that. A car accident attorney with experience in the Buffalo, TX and Cameron, TX area can help you handle all your communications.
The Other Side’s Lawyers Are Calling Me: What Should I Say to Them?
If the other side’s lawyers call, and you haven’t yet consulted your own car accident attorney, then tell them you’ll have your attorney contact them shortly, hang up, and get yourself an attorney of your own. If you already have a lawyer, it’s even simpler. As soon as the other side’s lawyers identify themselves, tell them to contact your attorney for all unscheduled communication and then hang up.
It’s always important to remember that the other side’s lawyers are not on your side. Most of the time, the only reason to contact you is to try to get you to disclose something you aren’t legally required to disclose or to get you to say something that can be used against you.
When You Have to Speak With the Opposing Side
There may be some times when you’ll need to speak with representatives of the other side in your accident, but your own car accident attorney will prepare you for these meetings. You never have to speak in unscheduled, unexpected phone calls.
The other side’s insurance company will investigate your accident as part of their claim review process. This is normal and expected. Your lawyer will help you prepare your statement, if you need to make one, and none of this will happen out of the blue. Depending on who is responsible for the accident, you might not need to make a statement at all.
Finally, you may have to speak to the other side’s lawyers during the course of negotiations or if the case goes to trial, but, again, all of this will be done in scheduled meetings or a public courtroom, and your own lawyer will advise you at every step. You don’t have to talk to anyone who randomly calls you, and if you keep getting calls, be sure to tell your lawyer, who will contact the other side and put a stop to it.
Your Car Accident Attorney’s Role
Your lawyer’s job is to fight for you and get you the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. Bear in mind that your attorney is different from your insurance company. Your insurance company has a contractual obligation to pay out for covered claims, but they won’t fight for you, and if the accident was someone else’s fault, they normally don’t pay out at all. Just having insurance isn’t enough: you also need a lawyer on your side.
The Other Attorney’s Role
The other side’s attorney has a very different role, and it’s important to remember this. No matter how polite the other side’s lawyer may be when contacting you, his or her goal is not to protect you or help you in any way. The goal is to find evidence that will invalidate your claim or make it less valuable.
It’s a fairly common tactic for lawyers defending at-fault drivers to call the victim(s) before they’ve had a chance to get their own lawyer. They may start by asking seemingly innocuous questions about the accident and then push to get you to admit you were distracted when the accident happened, you weren’t hurt as badly as you claim, or that you have a preexisting condition that is the real reason for your injuries.
Understanding the Claims Process in Cameron, TX and Buffalo, TX
It’s almost always best for everyone involved in a car accident claim to settle the matter without going to court. The claims process gives you a chance to get a settlement, and once fault has been established and you’ve made a claim, the other side’s insurance company usually makes a compensation offer.
However, there are times when an insurance company will simply refuse to pay, and if your claim is not correctly submitted or doesn’t include all the monetary and non-monetary damages you’re entitled to, your compensation could be reduced. These are just a few reasons having a legal professional on your side is so vital. By working with a lawyer, you will have the best chance of getting the maximum possible settlement.
Maximize the Value of Your Claim
The most important way to get everything you’re owed is by working with your lawyer. In addition, there are a few things you can do to protect your claim:
Immediately After the Accident
Get Medical Attention
As soon as possible after the accident, go to the emergency room and get checked out. Even if you feel fine, you could be hurt more badly than you think. Adrenaline masks pain, and once the adrenaline wears off, you’ll start to feel it. If you go immediately, you have medical records to use to back up your claim. And if you don’t go, the other side’s lawyers could use that against you, claiming you weren’t hurt as badly as you claim to be.
Get All Important Information
If you’re not too badly injured at the moment, make sure you get the other driver’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and the name of their insurance company. If there are any witnesses, try to get their contact information, too. Of course, it goes without saying that if the at-fault driver is badly hurt, you should call 911 and get them help rather than pester them with questions: your lawyer will be able to find them if they end up going to the hospital.
During the Claims Process
Don’t Take Phone Calls
Whether it’s the other side’s lawyers or insurance company, don’t take any unscheduled phone calls. Be polite, refer them to your lawyer, and hang up.
Avoid Social Media Chat
Don’t talk about your accident, the claims process, your injuries, or even your feelings about the accident itself in public, especially on social media. Anything you post could be used against you, even if it’s totally innocent. If, for example, a friend asks on your Facebook feed if you’re ok, and you reply in a way that minimizes your injuries because you don’t want your loved ones to worry, the other side’s lawyers could grab this and claim that you’re lying about the extent of your injuries.
Choosing Good Lawyers
The skill of your lawyer is one of the biggest factors in determining how much you can get from your claim. Look for local Buffalo, TX and Cameron, TX lawyers with experience in both local law and in dealing with car accident claims. Getting the highest compensation starts with having the best legal representation. Get in touch with Brian C. Gutierrez, Accident & Injury Lawyer today, and we’ll get to work dealing with the other side’s lawyers on your behalf.